As part of the Mosaic Reviews team, my family and I were once again blessed to try something we might not have previously been aware of. This time, we were allowed to pick an art project from See the Light, a Christian Homeschool Art Curriculum. The projects we were allowed to choose from can be found on this page and are valued at $14.99 each.
We chose to try out the project “Sunflowers” which teaches in the style of Vincent Van Gogh. When it arrived in the mail, we immediately checked the supply list on the back of the DVD and went shopping. I waited for the DVD to arrive because I wasn’t sure if I would receive my first choice or not. You, dear one, do not need to wait to shop if you don’t want to. Each project has a list of materials on the site! We already had art pads lying around, so all we had to pick up was a set of oil pastels (at least 24) which we got at Hobby Lobby for about $3.
(Note: we did choose to purchase the recommended colored paper since we already had on hand white drawing pads. If you are completing this project as part of your fine arts credit, you will probably want to follow recommendations.)
You might notice that there are 4 children pictured above. If you have been reading for any amount of time (or are just observant) you will note that only Monkey-Girl is over 10, which is the suggested age (10+). This was just too fun not to include the others who were old enough to follow directions.
Only Monkey-Girl and I used the oil pastels. Since the artist explains in lesson 1 that oil pastels are similar to crayons (but with mineral oil), the younger boys used just that. (I apologize now that I neglected to photo my own drawing step-by-step. Keep scrolling and you will see the final project that I did at the end.)
Each lesson begins with some art history specific to the project. So for lesson one, we were given part of Van Gogh’s background. Then she reads a portion of scripture and ties it all together.
Especially because we had the younger boys following along, we paused a lot during the video. This is perfectly acceptable for any age so that the student may complete the steps that were just described. All of the instructions were clearly spoken as well as demonstrated throughout the video. The instructor talks the student through sketching, color selection, and composition, always showing reasoning behind the choices.
As you can see, in lesson two, we began the layering of colors in the picture. Again, all instructions were easy to follow (even Moose, resident 4 year old, was able to mostly follow along). We had also learned some more history of Van Gogh and added another scripture.
I did have to remind my easily discouraged Monkey-Girl that this was a process and that her picture was not expected to look like the professional’s on the screen.
In lesson three, we were talked through filling in the negative space and some additional shading. We did have to take longer pauses during this particular lesson so the kids could hunt down just the right color or fill it out precisely how much they wanted to.
In this lesson, we layered on the final touches. As you can see, Moose went a little crazy with his. That’s ok, though, because the instructor reminded them all repeatedly that they are the artists and this was their creation. Just as we are God’s creation.
Monkey-Girl was finally boosted by how hers turned out when she stepped away from it as instructed. She realized that it looked different and more put together when she wasn’t so close her nose had color on it.
This project also highlighted Pony-Boy’s desire to be the fastest as he cut corners. Instead of the short strokes described, he squiggled the background down the page so he could finish before Duckie. This would not have mattered, though, because Duckie was concentrating on layering his crayons as much like the oil pastels as possible.
All told, this was a wonderful experience! The kids and I enjoyed being able to learn some more about art, art history, and tie the Bible in to that.
An added benefit is that when they are older, we can do this project again and see the difference in what they have done and what they will do. Why would we want to do this again? Well, for one, See the Light is usable in all 50 states as a homeschool fine arts credited program. In order to make this count for the appropriate credit hours, we will go back and purchase additional lessons. Before we revisit this particular lesson in the years to come, the kids will be better learned on technique and composition (as well as the art history and Biblical references).
If you would like the chance to try out See the Light in your home, may I direct your attention to this page on their website? Here, they currently offer a few small instructional videos for free. I am sure that you will gain from them the same appreciation I have from the DVD. Once you have watched those, you can then browse the online store here and decide which project will best suit your family!
Did you think I forgot to show you how I did? I didn’t. This just isn’t about me, so I am putting it down here, out of the way.